Project Me: June review and goals for July

I am writing this a few hours before my dental surgery this morning that will remove 15 of my teeth. I’m not sure how long it will be before I am able, or want to, write again, and I want to make sure I’ve got goals for July beyond simply surviving the pain. If you’re reading this and it’s Monday, July 1st, say a little prayer, if you would, that I survive surgery, that the surgeon is able to do everything she needs to do, and that this will be another important step in my journey to better health.

My goals for June were:

  1. Get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio activity PLUS two strength training* sessions each week
    • *Make an appointment with a trainer at the gym! – did not see a trainer, did not do even a single strength training session, but I did get at least the minimum 150 minutes of cardio each week
  2. Have fun: incorporate at least one fun activity into each week (sewing, knitting, crochet, lunch with a friend, bike ride, pedicure, get hair done) – I have been focusing more on working fun into my life and I’m pretty sure I hit my goal to do something fun every week, but I don’t think I’m doing enough to make sure I really experience and enjoy the fun, if that makes sense
  3. At least one fruit or veggie with each meal – this one has been a real pleasure to check off of the list! I have developed a healthy obsession with berries & cherry/grape tomatoes, so that has made this goal super simple
  4. Eat at least 25 grams of fiber every day – by eating so much fruit and so many veggies, this goal has been a slam dunk
  5. Don’t buy any clothes for a month – I sort of managed this one. I did buy two items of clothing but I didn’t wear either of them in June, so there’s that. I wanted to buy clothes many, many times during the month, and it was knowing that I’d have to come here and tell you about it that made me stop and put down the plastic!

My revised goals for 2013 have been published and they include:

  • fasting blood sugar reading below 130 mg/dL – already achieved, need to maintain
  • triglycerides reading less than 150 mg/dL – already achieved, need to maintain
  • body weight at or below 169 pounds (putting me into the Overweight category on BMI scale) – 35 more pounds in six months
  • waist measurement of not more than 39 inches – 5-1/2 more inches in six months
  • an improved quality of life as perceived by me – well on my way to achieving this!

So, where should I focus for July?

  1. Finish Couch to 5K program (I’ll be starting week 5 of the program this week if all goes well with the surgery), be able to jog 30 minutes straight
  2. Make an appointment with a personal trainer to develop a strength training program I can begin
  3. Reach out to friends & family to make sure that I have scheduled time with at least one person I love every week this month

These aren’t particularly aggressive goals but I need to focus on recovering from surgery and learning how to eat again with temporary teeth. I’m told by my dentist that I will not be able to chew anything with these “flipper teeth” in for 3-9 months – yikes!

OK, I’m off to the gym before my surgery. Hope all goes well. I’ll report back when I’m feeling well enough to do so and I’m sure I’ll be on Facebook and Twitter in the meantime.

How am I doing? (a check in)

Things are going well here at Lottalatte Central, at least health-wise. My blood sugar readings are consistently good, I’m at the gym at least five mornings a week for 45 minutes a go, and I’m eating nearly no white carbs while adding loads more beans, fruits, and veggies to my meals. TCB is also monitoring his food intake and is incredibly supportive of my need to get a grip on my health; we have honestly never been happier.

Balanced rocks
Balanced rocks by gr8what via Flickr

On the other side of the equation, our 20 year old house guest – Alcott’s 20 year old sister – disappeared for 28 days with nary a word then when I inquired as to when she planned to come and get her things (and her cat), got very offended, stomped up and down the stairs in silence for 90 minutes while moving out, and has been ignoring us ever since. I suppose it’s silly of me to expect some kind of “thank you” for the nine months we let her stay with us rent and household expense free but I’m still bothered by her behavior. Still, it’s for the best and her leaving has given me the time I’ve needed to focus on working out and eating properly, so all’s well that ends well.

While my blood sugar has been responding beautifully to the changes in diet and exercise, the scale has not been as ready to drop. Not to say that I’m not losing weight, it’s just that when your mind has already shifted into “I’m living a healthy lifestyle and I’m a healthy, fit person” mode, it’s disconcerting to realize that it’s not that simple when it comes to losing weight. I didn’t gain 100 pounds overnight – although it sometimes feels like it! – and it’s not going to come off that way, either. I keep catching myself day dreaming about all of the gorgeous clothes I’m going to wear “soon”, when I can fit into normal clothing sizes instead of being stuck with the few items of plus sized clothing that don’t look like they were made by Omar the Tent Maker. The problem arises when I realize with a thud that I’m still MILES and MILES from anywhere near being out of plus sizes. “But I’m ready now,” wails my poor, confused brain, while my body just goes about the difficult business of shedding over 100 pounds in a safe and sane manner.

It’s a difficult business, this healthy living gig.

Project Charter available for review

I’ve published the Project Charter for Project Me, in case you’re interested in reading it. This is the foundational document that authorizes any project and it sets up what is to be done, why, and how the project will lead to the desired effect. I put a lot of thought into what I want to achieve in 2013 and what is reasonable for me to do in the next twelve months, so I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts and if you think I ought to add anything else.

At work we use the Agile method of working on a project, and I’ll do the same here. All of the work to be done on a project is defined and broken down into pre-defined periods of time called “sprints”. We’re doing one week sprints at work right now because we have so many changes in priority and availability of required materials (tax forms) is unpredictable, but I think I’ll start with two week sprints for Project Me because I don’t want to be tempted to change course based on a single (weekly) weigh in.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my two-week sprint backlog – that’s the detailed list of work to be completed and what the success criteria is for each – as well as pictures of my weigh in tonight.

Five tips for better diabetic eating

I had an appointment with my endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) on Friday. We discussed several different options in terms of changing my medications to try to get a better handle on my diabetes, but ultimately the best thing I can do is eat less, of better quality foods. I wish this was something that came easily to me.

Image by Atila Yumusakkaya on Flickr

The basic rules for healthy eating when you are diabetic are not really so different from those that apply to everyone. In a nutshell, here are the top five tips for better diabetic eating (with help from the American Diabetes Association’s website):

  1. Eat a good variety of foods. Include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, non-fat dairy products, healthy fats, and lean meats. Notice that candy, cookies, and white rice are not on the list? <Deep sigh.> The variety of food you eat is important not only because it keeps you from being bored with your meals but also so that you can get most of your necessary vitamins and minerals from what you eat instead of having to take a supplement.
  2. Don’t eat too much at one sitting or too much of any one type of food. For instance, binging on Girl Scout cookies is discouraged. Smaller portions are important because your body won’t have to work as hard if it only has to digest a small amount of food at a sitting rather than an enormous meal.
  3. Space your meals out throughout the day and don’t skip meals. Ideally you would eat reasonably sized meals every four hours so that your blood sugar never gets low. (Low blood sugar can make you ravenously hungry and less apt to make good food choices. See the bit about not binging on GS cookies in point #2 above.)
  4. Eat fish with your meals 2-3 times per week. Why does everyone keep talking about eating fish? It’s a lean protein option, with very little saturated fat. It’s also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol and triglycerides and might even lower your risk of certain types of cancer.
  5. Get your five daily servings of fruit and vegetables. For best glycemic control (defined as the measurement of how well your blood sugar is being managed), limit the amount of starchy vegetables – like potatoes, corn, peas, and winter squash, and choose fruit with lower glycemic index values like cantaloupe, apples, apricots, and plums. Again, a good variety of fruit and vegetable choices is important to make sure you’re getting the best nutritional bang for your (grocery) buck.

Of course, it’s one thing to know what to do and another thing entirely to make sure that you do it. I asked my endocrinologist for a referral to a nutritionist for help in putting together simple yet inviting meal plans for my whole family so that I can – gasp! – start eating mostly at home. While it’s certainly possible to eat well while eating out, it’s sure a lot easier when you prepare everything yourself so you know what’s going in the pot!

How do you make sure that you and your family are eating well and getting the nutrition you need? Any time and/or money saving tips you’d like to share?